According to a recent report, 59% of Australians have a will. Contrary to popular belief, wills are not just for wealthy or older adults. You can write a will regardless of your wealth or age. Here are some of the basic reasons you need to have a will.
Avoid Distribution of Your Estate by the Courts
If you die without a will, the court will distribute your estate. According to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), if you die without writing a will, your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules. In most cases, the assets will pass on to your spouse.
If you were not married, your estate is distributed to your next of kin. However, if you have an unmarried partner or are separated from your spouse when you pass away, distribution of wealth without a will becomes complicated. If you don't have any eligible relatives, your property will pass on to the State. A wills and estates lawyer can help you draft a valid will to prevent intestacy rules and so you can even leave gifts to anyone you want, including charities or friends.
Avoid Family Conflicts
One of the main benefits of having a will is to avoid family conflicts when you pass on. Some members of your family and close friends may feel entitled to inherit your estate. If you die without drafting a will, you leave a lot of uncertainty, and conflict may arise about who is a legitimate heir. Usually, the court will distribute the estate to your spouse or next of kin.
A wills and estates lawyer will help you state your wishes in a will. This way, you can disinherit people who would otherwise be eligible to inherit. Furthermore, your lawyer will ensure your will is drafted according to the law to avoid cases where some family members try to dispute the contents in the will.
Minimise Estate Taxes
Having a will enables you to minimise your estate taxes. The value of your estate decreases when you pay estate taxes. A wills and estates lawyer can help you employ different strategies to minimise estate taxes.
For example, your lawyer will help you create a trust. A trust will protect your assets during a divorce or bankruptcy. It also helps provide income for disabled children. With a trust, you're assured that your children will benefit from your estate even if your spouse remarries. Trusts are an important tool for minimising the tax burden for your beneficiaries.
Death is inevitable, and one of the best ways to prepare for your death is by having a will. This way, your children and next of kin will be financially covered. To ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes and that all your assets and liabilities are accounted for, you need to enlist a wills and estates lawyer.